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Columns : Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Assessing Your Security Guard and Security Provider
By Gamal Newry
Feb 24, 2010 - 4:34:19 PM

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In the Bahamas, like other places in the world, the security guard is usually not the first option of a career for the individual filling that role. The career of security guard is rarely seen at the top of the list when teenagers are asked what they aspire to be.   This last resort thus makes the selection pool shallow to say the least. On the other end of the spectrum you find that many of these roles are filled with retired or former police officers.   These persons are usually, for the most part, very reactive in their approach to security, resulting from years of training as police officers.   They are usually a grim reminder that policing and security are similar professions but very different in their attempt to reduce loss. In fact policing is concerned more with recovery of loss or the discovery of causation factors whereas security focus is on retention and prevention of loss.


When entering many businesses today the first and last person we see is the security officer, thus like it or not, the security person is the first and last impression of your organization. For many organizations like major retail stores, high traffic locations, banks and other high cash environments this is a must, if only to give the impression of a safe place to do business. Unfortunately the appearance alone if gone unchecked can   be very detrimental to the reputation of your business. What are you doing to ensure that this person is a true representative of what your company is trying to portray? What demands have you placed on the guard company's management to ensure that a quality officer is sent to man your property, staff, information and importantly your reputation?

What I will provide for you is what I believe to be key performance indicators that will assist you in adequate assessing what you have in the first instance, and secondly develop training to get the best bang for your buck. These are as follows:


  1. Emergency Response
  2. Public Relations
  3. Access Control
  4. Communications
  5. Inspections and Reviews
  6. Management Functions


Let us begin with emergency response, as this indicator is where security duties become those of law enforcement and the guard is now trying to prevent further or continued loss to your investment. This can range form fire, medical /safety or criminal response, all of which are emergencies but indicate that security has not done proper inspections and reviews.  You may think it very harsh to place the occurrence of emergency events on the security guard, but if you think about it that’s what they were hired for - to prevent these events from happening. This occurrence means that security has failed.


Inspection and review would be the indicator, as the guard on the ground is your eyes and ears providing real-time monitoring of your assets. The guard should regularly be reporting to you the condition of each asset. Thus security must be seen and used as a management tool to ensure the smooth running of operation and timely deterrence of disruptive events.


The idea of reporting brings us to the need for proper communication. If there is lacking in this area then the entire function of loss prevention is at risk. I have on numerous occasions encountered security personnel with poor communication skills, who as a result amplify already tense and hostile situations. Further, their inability to write effective reports delay and hamper the investigative work of the police. I am sure you can relate to those occasions when for whatever reason the security guard at a company has had to fill in for the receptionist.


My last point speaks to another performance indicator that cannot be left out, which is public relations. The entire premise of this article is to ensure good representation of the company by the guard. Thus his / her knowledge of your company is important. They should know who is the CEO, who has been terminated, what company does the cleaning. This concept goes hand in hand with customer service. If you have not had or insisted that your guards be trained in good customer service then you are risking daily embarrassment, and that could be expensive in the long run.  


Access control is another key indicator that should be on your list, and this means more than just who gets in and who is let out. Access control speaks also to the movement of persons in and around your property while they are there. This means can your security team account for all persons on your property now and should they be where they are.


Finally, do you have enough security resources in place to execute the task at a hand? This management function ends with you but is initiated by the guard who via the indicators listed above helps to give you a clear picture of what is going on. These give you a better framework to develop evaluations that go beyond early arrival, by helping you better understand what should be happening.


The operation of security guards is not unique to the Bahamas and can be seen all over the world. For those of us who have traveled to large shopping malls, airports and amusement park we see these people doing the same duties that any guard would perform here at home. For those of you who are involved in managing this function for your company and use guard services I hope this helps in educating you and making you a better shopper. Additionally these indicators can be developed to assist in creating job specific performance evaluations.
Gamal Newry is the President of Preventative Measures, a Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Training and Consulting Company, specializing in Policy and Procedure Development, Business Security Reviews and Audits, & Emergency and Crisis Management. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas or, email gnewry@gmail.com or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.net

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